This is my mum, Carol, Sue, Ros and a few 60-something ladies (6 out of 10) from Solihull trying out Bollwood Dancing this week.
They’re not aiming for Britain’s Got Talent. They’re not going to create a brand new niche of anglo-asian dance that becomes the British wiggly version of Tai Chi. And they’re not doing this for our pleasure or judgment. After wiggling their hips and smiling til their cheeks hurt, a few of them will send this video to their sons and daughters and grandkids in Australia, Dubai, London and around the world.
They are part of a generation that was the first to enjoy at least three decades, the 60s, 70s and 80s, to the full, and these mums have not been shy in the last 20 years either. The “Baby Boomer” generation started being a silly name since the 80s. These ladies each went to decent schools, on to college, on to work as teachers, chemists and managers for over thirty years, to bring up children who would on occasion wrap dad’s Jaguar around a lamppost followed by the police. They party hard, are always keen to feed their minds, and have the ability and energy to get the very most out of what is often ludicrously called the “Twilight Years”.
The kids have left and are making their own mini-people. Pensions and Senior Citizen travel are here or looming, but these ladies are perfect examples of the We-Know-How-To-Enjoy-Ourselves generation. Sure, my bunch are part of the extended-kidulthood generation – pushing back growing up til we’re in our late 30s, (wrote a piece on it here) spending our complete pay-cheque halfway through the month, but for my mum and her friends, theirs is a mindset.
Mum is doing this. She’s painting again. She loves Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey like a fat kid loves cake. She’s joined a group called the University of the Third Age that goes on trips to the South of France and Italy to look at fancy old buildings. She turns up Jackie Wilson and howls at Radio 4. She’s not going to learn to cook, and will keep repackaging the caterer’s food into home bowls for parties. She’s not going to take up Mountain Walking again, but she will love the fells from the valley and head to the Apple Pie shop. She’s put the children’s lives in perspective by helping out at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
You don’t enjoy yourself waiting for things to come to you. You go out and get them, preferably without hurting others or yourself. You will not be looked after forever, and the people you share your life with may come and go, but you are the one to make yourself happy, and if you can share that, do.
You don’t have to get obliterated with pals every weekend. You don’t have to go around the world or change religion or get into fetish-gear. And getting your friends to join you for Bollwood class, and a good old giggle at least once a week – that’s not the ‘Twilight Years’ – it’s the ‘Highlight Years’. The kids are alright, but their mums, Grandmums and Supermums are absolutely fine.